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On October 8, 2018, I gave the research talk Automating Scientific Research in Optimization at the Mathematics of Transportation and Logistics group of Prof. Dr. Ralf Borndörfer at the Mathematical Optimization department, Mathematical Optimization and Scientific Information division of the Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB) in Berlin, Germany.

The Mathematical Optimization department of the ZIB contributes research on modeling, simulation, and optimization methods for difficult problems in transport and logistics, telecommunications, energy supply, and healthcare. They combine theoretical insight and practical experience to optimization software for cooperation partners such as Lufthansa or Deutsche Bahn. The group is strong in fundamental research on branch-and-cut-and-price algorithms, graph theory, combinatorics, algorithmic game theory, and convex optimization, especially applicable to large-scale models. They often combine multiple different aspects of a real-world optimization problem, such as different objectives, handle data uncertainty, parallelize algorithms, and develop new decomposition techniques, as well as adaptive and dynamic methods.

Prof. Borndörfer has worked on many interesting projects, especially with the goal to improve the efficiency of public and private transportation systems, such as optimized infrastructure design with respect to passenger behavior in public transport, rolling stock roster planning for railways, multi-day cyclic rotations for trains, service design in public transport, solving the vehicle positioning problem, airline crew scheduling, and cyclic roster planning in public transport.

The background of this group is highly interesting for me. On one hand, our team member Dr. Zijun Wu, works on algorithmic game theory especially with respect to traffic optimization. On the other hand, we also have conducted quite a lot of research on logistics too, e.g., for the Traveling Salesman Problem. There was much to discuss – especially since the algorithm performance analysis methods we develop also fit to the iterative natures of algorithms of the branch-and-bound family.

It was a real pleasure to visit this research group, to meet Prof. Borndörfer and to meet Prof. Möhring again, who helped in arranging the meeting. I am very thankful to both professors and to the kind audience. really enjoyed our talk.

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On October 19, 2018, I gave my research talk Automating Scientific Research in Optimization at the Information Systems & Business Administration chair of Prof. Dr. Franz Rothlauf at Faculty of Law, Management and Economics faculty of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU, Johannes Gutenberg Universität) in Mainz, Germany.

The main research aims of the chair of Information Systems & Business Administration concern simulation and optimization processes as well as E-Business and modelling. Its application aims deal with network planning and combinatorial optimization in varying areas of economics. They have, for instance, developed a very efficient Estimation of Distribution Algorithm (EDA) for bit-string based problems. The group collaborates with several industry partners, including HRS, Avinomics GmbH, BridgingIT GmbH, EnBW AG, t.e.a.m. AG, and McKinsey.

Several times I have attended Prof. Rothlauf's always interesting tutorials at the GECCO conferences and I can only recommend them. He is one of the corner stones of the Evolutionary Computation community. His books Design of Modern Heuristics: Principles and Application and Representations for Genetic and Evolutionary Algorithms belong to the standard canon of Evolutionary Computation literature. He also has published more than 90 technical papers in the context of planning and optimization, evolutionary computation, e-business, and software engineering, co-edited several conference proceedings and edited books.

Meeting this group and Prof. Rothlauf at the JGU was a very nice experience and I am thankful that the talk was visited well.

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Today, I had the great pleasure of teaching my short course Metaheuristics for Smart Manufacturing [智能制造的元启发式算法] at the Quanzhou University of Information Engineering [泉州信息工程学院] in Quanzhou city [泉州市] in the Fujian province [福建省] as part of the 2018 Teacher Training Program of the Sino-German Center for Education Cooperation and Development of the Fujian Province [中德(福建)教育合作与发展师资培训项目] with the topic "Intelligent Manufacturing". The course was given as two 2-hour lectures to an audience of about 30 key teachers from more than 20 higher vocational colleges in the province who mainly specialized in the field of mechanical engineering.

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Today, on Thursday, July 26, 2018, our first Institute Workshop on Applied Optimization took place. Three talks were contributed by our researchers as well as our international guest researcher Dr. Mohammad Ali Raayatpanah [محمدعلی رعایت پناه] from the Kharazmi University [دانشگاه خوارزمی] in Iran [جمهوری اسلامی ایران]. We believe that a good way to good research is cooperation and the exchange of thoughts. It is especially good to discuss about research from different, but related fields. Each talk led to interesting conversations and hopefully has opened up opportunities for even more inspiring discussions and joint research.

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Prof. Dr. Rolf H. Möhring from the Fachgebiet Kombinatorische Optimierung und Graphenalgorithmen (COGA) of the Institut für Mathematik at the Technische Universität Berlin (TUB) in Berlin, Germany, visited visited our institute from June 5 to 8, 2018. He presented his research talk "Dynamic Network Routing: Meeting the Challenge of Complex Traffic and Transportation Tasks" on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, at 09:30 AM in the Meeting Room of the Faculty of Computer Science and Technology of Hefei University [合肥学院] Building 36, 3rd Floor, Room 305 [合肥学院 计算机科学与技术系 合肥市 230601蜀山区 经济技术开发区 南2区/南艳湖校区 锦绣大道99号 36栋 305会议室]. The talk was open to all interested audience and very well attended. Here you can find the slides of the talk and here the poster.

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